A Rustic Wedding at Southend Barns, West Sussex

Written by Emma Hla
Natalie & Elliott celebrated their beautiful big day at a stunning barn wedding venue in West Sussex. Southend Barns was the perfect ‘blank-canvas’ interior for their woodland themed wedding. This gorgeous winter wedding is Narnia-esque and there are so many delicious details for you to be inspired by it’s almost too difficult to know where to start! There’s moss and succulent centrepieces, Bridesmaids in floral crowns and fur, marshmallows toasting and even a Hedgehog. Yes folks, a hedgehog.

Beautifully captured by LucyLou Photography, Natalie talks us through their special day and the planning involved…

Notes from the Bride



Elliott and I have always wanted to get married in a barn and for us Southend Barns was perfect. Not only did it have the rustic beams running throughout the Dairy and Threshing Barn, but also had a modern and unique twist to the venue, which we instantly fell in love with.

We absolutely love the New Forest and enjoy spending lots of time exploring new parts of the forest, so for us choosing a wedding theme was very simple. With the Forest theme decided we also wanted the wedding colours to be muted, natural, earthy tones, so the Bridesmaid’s dresses were a nude blush, the Groom and Ushers suits were brown tweed along with sage green ties and bow ties. To keep away the frosty February air, myself and the Bridesmaid’s wore brown fur stoles.

At first, I wasn’t really sure on what dress I wanted. I had aways thought that I would wear an A Line dress, but after looking through Pinterest and a few magazines, I wanted something a little different, vintage looking and with shoulder detail. It was the second shop where I found my dress and it was beautiful, something different to anyone elses that I have seen. My Dress was ‘Janelle by Maggie Sottero’ channeling the sparkle and glam of the 1920’s. Once I tried the dress on, I knew that was it.


For our flowers we wanted something different. Something that you wouldn’t normally expect at a wedding, plus we’re not into bright flower so for me i wanted my bouquet again to reflect the earthy, forest vibe but also being very natural with a mass of succulents, moss and wood. We came across Owen Lavin, Little Lillies at a wedding fair and knew straight away that we wanted Owen to be part of our wedding.

We kept the Dairy room very simple with lanterns filled with moss and leaves staggered at various places up the aisle and a simple yet rustic succulent arrangement on the table. In the Threshing Barn we wanted to create a forest and it was beautiful with the fairy lights. All the tables were named after places in the forest but also places that meant something special to us. The top table was named ‘Salcombe’ which is where Elliott proposed. The signs were from Ginny and I on Etsy and were created using recycled wood.

Throughout the wedding there were various wooden crates. As the guests entered the Dairy barn the wooden crates were stacked along with the letter N & E with a photograph of Elliott and myself. Crates were also used on the outside bar to give height and focal point to the classic coke bottles and rustic popcorn stand. They were also used again to give height for the evening buffet to which Field and Fork got very creative with the rustic Mediterranean buffet.


For our favours we wanted something that would last but also remind our guests of our special day, so all the adults were given potted mini succulents but also doubled up as their name places. The children were given an activity book and pencils to keep them entertained throughout the meal, along with beautiful felt animal masks which Elliott’s sister created.

Other features of our wedding included our guest book which was slightly unusual as Elliott had made a wooden picture frame which our guests could write a little message on a wooden heart and drop the heart into the frame. This was very popular with our guests!

We also featured a lot of black boards, including our table plan, which was created by Elliott’s other sister! This had green leaves and fairy lights around the board to make it stand out more. We also had black boards for instagram, popcorn & sweet bar, blankets and sparklers.

Our wedding cake, made by my Mum, was simple yet beautiful. It was a 3 tier cake and the top tier was full of white roses and green succulents, with simple hessian ribbon and mini Bunting.


Our photographer Lucy Crawley (LucyLou Photography) was just simply fantastic. She made us feel very relaxed which is really important when you have someone photographing you all day and her images were exactly what we wanted. She captured all the perfect moments that we can now treasure forever and we would definitely recommend her to anyone. 

For us, the best part of our wedding was our first dance. It was a chance for us to be surrounded by all our loved ones but still be in the very moment of being alone with one another.

Our advice to any Bride & Groom would be, just relax! Its your wedding day and you need to enjoy every moment as it will go so quick. If something goes wrong, no one will know about it only you. Also, you may find that after the ceremony you will want to speak to all your guests and that you forget to actually spend time together as Husband and Wife. We promised that we would have 15 minutes together and just take in everything, seeing our guests having fun and enjoying themselves.

We had such a wonderful day and so many people complimented us on the look and feel of our wedding, which for us was simply amazing.



Venue Southend Barns | Photography LucyLou Photography | Bride’s Dress Janelle by Maggie Sottero | Bridal Boutique Proposals | Makeup Lisa Owens | Hair Rebecca Hunt | Groom’s Attire The Herringbone Collection at Next | Bridemaid’s Fashion No 1 Jenny Packham | Florist Owen Lavin at Little Lillies | Cake Sandra Burnage {Mother of the Bride} | Catering Field & Fork | Entertainment Victoriana

I have so much love for these two… How beautiful is their wedding day…?

I know, I know, you’re desperate to start the pinning! Before you dive into the full glorious gallery I just want to thank Southend Barns, LucyLou Photography and of course the newlyweds Natalie & Elliott for sharing their wedding day…

Lots of love!

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